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Smart Tips for Traveling With Your Pet

8 ways to keep your cat or dog safe and healthy on vacation

En español | Want to go for a ride? This question unleashes wide grins and full-body wiggles in most dogs who always seem up for new adventures — no matter if it’s a ride across town or a road trip across the country. Heck, even some cats are content to go along for the ride.

See also: Keep your pet safe in the heat.

Pet travel is on the rise in America with more than 29 million people bringing their pet on trips of 50 miles or more, according to latest Travel Industry Association of America survey. Dogs win the popularity poll, representing 78 percent of pet travel mates, followed by cats (15 percent), fish, ferrets and rabbits (3 percent) and birds (2 percent).

Group of dogs hanging out in trunk of station wagon

Make sure your dogs are in crates or safety restraints before hitting the road. — Photo by: Margo Silver/Getty Images

About 6 percent of pets fly in commercial airplanes, but that percentage is expected to rise, thanks, in part, to the advent of companies such as Pet Airways. An airline exclusively for dogs and cats, the company first took off two years ago and continues to add hubs throughout the country. So far, trains have not hopped on board this pet-traveling movement.

Whether traveling on the road or in the air, these are the best ways to play it safe and make sure your pets are welcomed back to any destination:

  • Get packing. For road trips, your pet’s packing list must include his commercial food, treats, food and water dishes, grooming tools, poop bags, cleaning supplies, enzymatic stain and odor remover, a flat sheet to place over the hotel bed, medications, a copy of your pet’s vaccinations, ID tag and collar, spare leash, pet first-aid kit and pet bed or crate.
  • BYO H20. To reduce the risk of your pet developing an upset stomach or digestive issue, quench his thirst with bottled water or tap water from your home that you store in gallon jugs. If your pet is prone to motion sickness, don’t feed him before the trip. Check with your veterinarian about a new anti-nausea medicine called Cerenia that seems to help dogs woozy by motion.

Next: Keep pets safe in the car. »

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